Upper extremity orthoses are devices that are applied to improve functionality or restore structural characteristics of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. These problems include trauma, sports, or work-related injuries. These orthoses are also used for patients who have neurological problems, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, and peripheral nerve injury. They are also used for arthritic conditions.
Upper extremity orthoses can be static orthoses or dynamic/functional orthoses. The static devices do not allow motion. In contrast, the dynamic orthoses permit motion and are used to assist the movement of weak muscles. Some of the functions of upper extremity orthoses are as follows:
Upper extremity orthoses can be classified into two categories: Wrist/Hand or Shoulder/Elbow
Static orthoses protect and immobilize hands thus striving to correct contractures. They are used to prevent hyperextension, and aid ligament repairs. They are also used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, burns, scleroderma, or nerve injuries.
Dynamic Hand Orthoses are used to maintain support while providing positioning support for fingers and assisting weak motor finger-extensor function. These devices are used with outrigger supports, cuffs, rubber bands, and hook applications.
Wrist Orthoses Tenodesis orthoses are used to facilitate use of the natural tenodesis action of the wrist. Some wrist splints incorporate a palmer metal “spoon” insert for added wrist stability.